Monday, June 21, 2010

The Cup Runneth Over

French Team Storms the Bastille –- In the latest development in a week of Cup craziness, the French team refused to train (not itself out of character) after a “dispute” on the field, one day after a player was sent home early for insulting the coach. France team Director Jean-Louis Valentin has resigned leaving his rebellious team leaderless in what seems to be a complete breakdown of authority, with multiple resignations. The French were battling bad Karma ever since their qualifying hand ball scandal by star striker Thierry Henry sent the team to the Cup, as Ireland was unjustly DQ’d.

Commenting on the European sides’ early troubles, the NYT summed it up perfectly: “The Italians can’t win, the English can’t score and now the French won’t even take the field.”

And Then There Were Two (Atrocious Referee Calls) -- Nothing like a bad call to fire up U.S. interest in football … Someone wrote that Koman Coulibaly, the referee who disallowed a good U.S. goal against Slovenia, is probably the only Malian Americans ever heard of. It’s not a name that rolls off the tongue. But most everyone knows of Coulibaly as the generic referee who made that awful call, dashing the American team’s storybook comeback and complicating its passage to the knockout round of 16. How can a guy whose nickname is “sleepy eyes” ever be picked to referee a crucial World Cup match? He may have been born on the Fourth of July but his middle name is Benedict Arnold.

It happened again, in Brasil’s match against the Ivory Coast. (Or Cote D’Ivoire, as they prefer to be called –- I’ll stick with Teabaggers … oops, wrong buffoonish rabble.) Despite a world-class striker in Drogba, the Ivory Coasters are definitely not ready for primetime. As the game progressed, the outclassed Coasters became increasingly frustrated with Brasil and started hitting maliciously.

First it was Elano. After scoring his goal, he took a hard open-cleat hit to the shin, knocking him out of the game. Then it was Lúcio’s turn to be stepped on. And so on. In neither case did the French referee offer a yellow card to tamp down the dirty play. As the game wound down, Kaká got into a shoving match with a Coaster. Yellow card. Then, he wasn’t even looking when a Coaster deliberately collided with Kaká’s back and fell to the ground in a pathetic acting job bought by the French referee. So Kaká got a second yellow and was red carded. Absolutely ridiculous refereeing.

Beautiful Vixen Blamed for Spain’s Loss –- Since it is one of the favorites to win the Cup, naturally Spanish fans were casting about for someone to blame for Spain’s shocking defeat to Switzerland. They settled on goalkeeper Iker Casilla’s beautiful girlfriend accusing her of “distracting” Casillas with her legitimate presence on the sidelines as a reporter. She’s fortunate the days of the Spanish Inquisiton are past, otherwise ... Will girlfriend reporter be at her post when Spain squares off against Honduras in a must-win? Stay tuned.

Abstinence = 0 Goals -- Meanwhile, the English Team has shot blanks through two games, as their coach enforces his no-sex policy with the help of closed-circuit TV. Argentina and Brasil have no such restrictions, and won their first two games by comfortable margins. So much for abstinence.

“Kimmy, What’s the Frequency?”
–- After the North Koreans’ historic 7-0 drubbing by Portugal, it seems Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il’s secret psychic communiqués to his team haven’t produced the desired results. Hope the hapless PRK players won’t get sent off to reeducation camp or ten years hard labor upon their early return to Kimmy’s socialist paradise. The guy who cried during the playing of their anthem might get leniency points for good behavior (acting).

Gotta love the Cup!

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